Reflections On Key Moments Of The State GOP Committee Meeting

(Thanks Angelic One. I need to come up with my thoughts later – promoted by EaBo Clipper)

Garrett3000 has an interesting stream-of-consciousness diary about the last 2008 Massachusetts GOP State Committee meeting which was held last night at the Newton Marriott Hotel.

“Bradley Jones is going to speak…EaBo Clipper angry grumble grumble (TheAngelicOne notes EaBo Clipper is clapping).”

House Minority Leader Brad Jones did his best before the standing-room-only crowd to assure them that he wasn’t happy with the election results both nationally & statewide. He also made it a point to remind his audience that he & his Beacon Hill team were doing the best they could given their circumstances & hoped 2010 would be a better year for the GOP. Clearly Jones was reacting to the voices calling for his ouster as Minority Leader. Bob Hargraves (R-Groton) also made it a point during his comments to defend Jones as well as GOP Chairman Peter Torkildsen. The audience provided Jones with polite applause both before & after his comments (& yes, even EaBo was spotted slapping skin for the man he wants deposed) but it was done more out of reflex than out of passion. Jones tossed out the usual party bromides but failed to make a convincing case for himself & his brand of leadership.

“Tork calls for applause from everyone for all the candidates.”

Clearly this moment was the highlight of the night. Many GOP candidates who ran this past election cycle were in attendance & it was obvious from the look on their faces that they appreciated the vigorous applause & standing ovation given to them by the state committee members. A handful of them gave speeches; the most notable among the speeches were those given by Paul Avella, Kurt Hayes, & Brian O’Connor. What I found heartening is that most of the assembled candidates are already preparing themselves to run again for 2010. Hopefully the GOP itself will be in better shape in the next election cycle to provide these candidates with even more campaign support as it did this past year.

“TheAngelicOne says that (GOP National Committeewoman Jody Dow) is focusing way too much on the Iraq War and not the explosion of domestic spending. I say if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.”

Yeah. That’s the problem. Too many Republicans refrained from criticizing Bush when he strayed from Republican principles during his eight year tenure. Iraq was part of the problem but so too was Bush’s infrequent use of his veto against pork-ladened bills & his administration’s disastrous response (“Heckuva job, Brownie!”) to the Katrina Hurricane in Louisiana. Dow’s counterpart, GOP National Committeeman Ron Kaufman was more forthcoming about the failures of the party & tried to raise the spirits of his audience by focusing on positive prospectives for 2010. All well & good. Said prospects, however, rely on the GOP (both national & statewide) to get its act together during the off year in order to take advantage of any stumbles by the Democrats – IF & WHEN the Democrats stumble. If the Democrats manage to avoid any fatal missteps, though, 2010 may not be a great election cycle either.

Region 1 Kevin Jordain…”Springfield Victory Office made 50,000 phone calls for McCain…a lot of the volunteers that came out to make those phone calls were not Republicans…the big missed opportunity of 2008 was the marriage amendment. This Republican Party had a huge opportunity with this…whether you’re for it or against it it hurt our membership in a huge way…”

Amen to that. Democrats have a knack for using ballot questions to help drive up turnout for their candidates. It was also noted several times how the usual suspects among Democrat special interest groups worked hard targeting “key” races to ensure the defeat of strong GOP candidates – especially in the use of last minute PAC funds which, as EaBo has already demonstrated in a previous diary, was considerable. The GOP needs to develop strategies to counter these kinds of Democrat offenses while at the same time the party should have a systematic,  targeted approach on one, two, but no more than three key issues (a “Contract With The State”) each election cycle which can benefit GOP candidates running for office.

I’ll leave it up to those in the know to discuss the proposed amendments to the GOP State Committee’s Bylaws. What the discussion/debate revealed to me was a committee divided between members comfortable with the way things are currently done versus members who want the party to move on into the 21st century as a more professional organization than is currently the case. Torkildsen deserves kudos for laying down the foundation for a genuine grassroots organization whose members are responsible for their individual successes (which, collectively speaking, becomes the party’s general success). High praise also goes to Rob Wilington for implementing the nuts & bolts of the party’s new version of itself.

If I have any guarded optimism at all, it’s due in part to some of the young Ron Paul Republicans who made it a point to visit last night’s meeting & check out for themselves the dynamics of the party. The ones I spoke to were bright, energetic, & eager to get into the basic machinery of GOP party politics. I’ve heard horror stories about the so-call “Paultards” but the people I met last night failed to live up (or live down) the stereotype being foisted on them by status quo Republicans. Many of the people I spoke to last night have their hearts in the “right” place regarding the GOP. With enough training & life experience, I think they’ll be a great addition to the party & might have a positive impact the state GOP’s future.

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